As many of my regular viewers to this web blog know, there are many factors contributing to childhood obesity. I post daily here about it, whether news print articles, opinions, feedback, or just personal opinion.
Recently, I wrote an article for Yahoo! (click here) about childhood obesity. I started searching for sources for this article, and received over 100 responses to the question, “What do you think caused the rise in childhood obesity?” Responses came from professional and Olympic athletes, fitness experts, health experts, nutritionist, and parents.
I was unable to use everyone’s feedback, but thought it would be great to post some of their responses on my blog in a new web series, “What Causes Childhood Obesity.” I hope that you enjoy the opinions here from various individuals. Please remember, my including their posts does not necessarily mean I agree or endorse their opinion, rather, a place to share other people’s thoughts.
There is a combination of factors that has created a perfect storm for the childhood obesity epidemic. We can site the changes in our food system and culture of eating. American food culture has moved dangerously far away from whole, nutrient-dense foods and home cooking. The family meal is no longer a daily event and cooking skills in the population have diminished with the disappearance of home economics courses in schools. From-scratch meals made with whole foods have been replaced in the American diet by processed foods high in sodium and sugar. This societal behavior change has altered children’s tastes, preferences and familiarly with nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables.
However, food is not the only culprit. The lack of physical activity for children is a key component to the rise of childhood obesity. Shockingly, there are many school days that do not include a PE or recess period. That coupled with children coming home to a vast array of video games, computer screens and any number of other sources of handheld entertainment has striped away the opportunities for kids to simply run around, be active and burn calories.
Nutrition and physical education must being given a valued place in the school day. To create a future generation that is sustainably healthy, it is critical for children to learn how to feed themselves well and take care of their bodies.
– Lisa Suriano, Founder of the Veggiecation Program